The Ogeechee-Canoochee Riverkeeper has joined a nationwide effort to help reduce marine debris in the Ogeechee river system.
The organization, along with many others across the country, has teamed up with the BoatU.S. Foundation and BoatU.S. Angler Program in their nationwide network of monofilament recycling locations.
The goal is to make proper disposal of monofilament more accessible.
"This will definitely help protect the mammals in the rivers, as well as the dolphins, manatees and wading birds that can get tangled up," said OCRK Executive Director and Riverkeeper Chandra Brown. "And it’ll help with aesthetics."
When they heard about the program, the OCRK stepped up to volunteer the installation and maintenance of several recycling fishing line boxes throughout Coastal Georgia.
Local Ogeechee recycling sites include the Hwy. 80 and Hwy. 204 Bridges, the Hwy. 17 Bridge and the Hwy. 144 Bridge at Fort Stewart, along with 12 other sites throughout the coastal area.
The OCRK received 40 boxes total for recycling sites throughout the Ogeechee-Canoochee watershed area at the beginning of January, leaving 23 additional boxes that still need to be placed.
"The boxes are here and they are available. In addition to our sites, we’re working with anyone in the coastal area who would like to put them out at their local public docks, public or private marinas, landings etc.," Brown said. "There’s a record sheet that volunteers will get to make sure the line is being recycled properly and to track how much line they are getting. Every few months, we’ll take the recycled line and send it to BoatU.S."
Brown said the boxes are large and will be easy to spot at numerous local fishing hotspots.
If there is an individual or group interested in helping as a community project, or for volunteer hours, please call the OCRK office at 912-764-2017.
The BoatU.S. Foundation provides the pre-made outdoor recycling bins and partial funding to cover the bins’ installation materials. The OCRK is responsible for placing the bins in high traffic fishing areas, regularly emptying the bins, separating any trash out, keeping track of how much line is collected and sending the collected material for processing.
Discarded monofilament fishing line can take over 500 years to decompose, the BoatU.S. site said. In that stretch of time, the line can tangle itself around boat propellers and numerous species of marine life. The program is geared to help keep the area’s favorite fishing sites a safe place for all who inhabit it.